Vertigo Celebrates 60 Years!

Vertigo Movie Poster

The Making of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958)

CAST

James Stewart
Kim Novak
Barbara Bel Geddes
Henry Jones
(Click their name if you would like to know more!)

Vertigo is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most powerful, deep, and stunningly beautiful films. At the time of the film's release, it was not a box-office hit, but has since been regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. It is a film noir that functions on multiple levels and was filmed mostly in beautiful San Francisco. The work is a mesmerizing romantic suspense/thriller about a dance with death, romantic delusion and an extreme case of acrophobia.

If you are a Hitchcock Vertigo fan, you will enjoy these fun facts about the film:

1. ALFRED HITCHCOCK BLAMED JIMMY STEWART FOR VERTIGO’S FAILURE.

Marred by mixed reviews, the $2.5 million Vertigo did comparatively less than Hitchcock’s previous movies, and was widely a recognized failure. Frustrated with its reception, Hitchcock partly blamed star Jimmy Stewart’s aging appearance. At the time of filming, Stewart—who had starred in Hitchcock’s three previous films—was 50 years old which, according to the director, was too old to convincingly play then-25-year-old Kim Novak’s love interest.

2. EDITH HEAD USED COLOR TO HIGHLIGHT THE CHARACTERS’ STATE OF MIND.

When having costume disagreements with Kim Novak about her famous gray suit, Head “explained to her that Hitch paints a picture in his films, that color is as important to him as any artist”. After a discussion with the director when Head wouldn’t relent, Novak finally understood their creative choices, “I thought, ‘He knows my point of view, he must see a reason why that would work. He wants me to feel that discomfort as Madeleine. And, of course, she should feel that way because she’s actually Judy, playing the part of somebody, so that edge of discomfort will help me.’”

3. KIM NOVAK WAS ALREADY BEING CONSIDERED TO REPLACE VERA MILES, HITCHCOCK’S FIRST-CHOICE LEADING LADY, BEFORE MILES DROPPED OUT DUE TO A PREGNANCY.

According to Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic, Hitchcock began to have doubts about Miles’s ability to be a breakout star when she showed signs of reluctance to be shaped by the director. Thus, Hitchcock sought a possible substitute. Author Dan Aulier writes, “A few weeks before Miles reported to Stage 5 at Paramount for hair, costume, and makeup tests, Hitchcock screened The Eddy Duchin Story, a biopic featuring an actress [Kim Novak] who was being molded by one of Hitchcock's crosstown rivals [Harry Cohn].”

4. HITCHCOCK EXPLORED NECROPHILIA WHILE SHOOTING THE FILM.

Hitchcock elaborated on the most perverse scene of Vertigo: the part in which Novak’s Judy dresses up as the dead woman with whom Stewart’s Scottie is obsessed. “I indulged in a form of necrophilia,”  In the scene, Scottie can’t bring himself to have sex with Judy until every detail matches his former lover, Madeleine.

5. AN UNCREDITED CAMERAMAN CAME UP WITH THE FAMOUS "VERTIGO EFFECT."

According to associate producer Herbert Coleman, it wasn’t Hitchcock who came up with the film’s famous camera technique (which essentially involves zooming forward while pulling the camera backward); rather, it was an uncredited second unit cameraman, Irwin Roberts. “He didn’t get screen credit on Vertigo because they gave the screen credit to another close friend, [Wallace Kelley] who did all the process work on the stage,”.

6. THE PRODUCTION CODE ADMINISTRATION POLICED THE MORALS OF THE FILM’S CHARACTERS.

Considering this was the 1950s, any kind of sexual activity was scrutinized. According to Auiler’s book on the making of Vertigo, the Production Code Administration, under the leadership of Geoffrey Shurlock, wanted to eliminate several scenes that contained illicit sex. This included, but was not limited to, discussions between Scottie and Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes) about her bra and her love life, and any underwear pictured during Madeleine’s suicide attempt.

7. THE FILM WENT THROUGH SEVERAL TITLE OPTIONS.

While the source novel’s literal translation was From Among the Dead, which is the title under which the film was cast and shot, it didn’t stick. A few Paramount execs weighed in with their suggestions, which included A Matter of FactThe Mad CarlottaFace in the Shadow, and Possessed by a Stranger.

8. A MUSICIANS GUILD STRIKE AFFECTED THE FINAL CUT.

In 1958, the same year Vertigo was in post-production, Hollywood's musical status quo changed drastically. Studios were dissolving their in-house music departments, so the industry’s composers, orchestra members, and musicians had to start working freelance or were out of jobs. According to a 1996 interview with Hitchcock’s daughter, Patricia, the union had a lot of things working against them: a leader who didn't look out for them, Hollywood using cheaper old recordings from Europe, and a tense intra-union split amongst members.

“Bernard Herrmann didn’t conduct himself,” said Patricia. “It couldn’t be done in Hollywood, so it was taken to London with Muir Mathieson conducting, and they did about a day and a half there, then the London orchestra went out in sympathy with the Los Angeles musicians. And the entire unit had to move to Vienna.” During the film’s restoration in the 1990s, each country’s recording ultimately aged differently, leaving the folks at Universal to remaster its sound.

9. ALFRED HITCHCOCK CHANGED THE SETTING FROM PARIS TO SAN FRANCISCO.

The French source novel, D'entre les Morts, was set in Paris, but Hitchcock believed that San Francisco was more interesting. With the city's vertiginous streets and hilly landscape, the location perfectly matched the film’s themes. In a city where there were such extreme physical highs and lows, awful for anyone with acrophobia, Scottie’s vertigo became a character in and of itself.

10. DESPITE HITCHCOCK’S TASKMASTER REPUTATION, KIM NOVAK GOT ALONG WITH HER DIRECTOR.

Happy to be on loan from Columbia, the Harry Cohn-run studio under which Novak was contracted, Novak reveled in her experience with Hitchcock. “I didn’t find him controlling whatsoever,” she told The Telegraph“I found him a joy.” She elaborated saying, “[Hitchcock] didn’t make me feel ‘less than.’ He never said, ‘You’re not doing it right…’  What I would do after a take is to look in Jimmy Stewart’s eyes … I used Jimmy to give me what I needed to keep going and to know that I was on the right path with it … So, Hitchcock wouldn’t say anything about my work in the movie but, on the other hand, he wouldn’t complain, either.”

San Francisco Movie Locations

MY FIRST LOOK: Salesforce Park!

A green roof, amazing views and a place to chill!

It was a cold and foggy day, but that didn't stand in the way of the excitement I had for my tour of Salesforce Park. This was my first up close and personal viewing after watching the monster project for the past several years. 

The 5.4-acre rooftop park stretching four city blocks features many activities for everyone in this neighborhood. The year-round open public space features an outdoor amphitheater, beautiful well thought out gardens with more than 600 trees, 16,000 plants, trails, open grass areas, children's play space, a (future) restaurant and a gondola for the public. There will also be free exercise classes, concerts, WIFI, DIY crafts and dance parties. 

One of my favorite features was the 1200 ft long "Bus Jet Fountain" designed by Ned Kahn. When a bus moves through the terminal, shooting jets of water follow the buses movement in the park above. I am not exactly sure how it works, but it was definitely working while we were all there and a couple of people had to move out of the way!

Bus Jet Fountain" designed by Ned Kahn

Bus Jet Fountain" designed by Ned Kahn

The amount of construction and traffic has been overwhelming since this project started. Many thought it would never be complete, but I have to say, this should be a welcome sight to everyone who lives in the Rincon Hill, South Beach, Yerba Buena and South of Market neighborhoods.

The opening party is on August 11 from noon - 4:00 pm. There will be food trucks, live music, shopping and of course.... the views!

What's in a name?

Chinatown.jpg

San Francisco neighborhoods and how they got their names. 

With the help of my favorite daily read Curbed San Francisco, I have compiled their list for everyone on my list to enjoy! 

Alamo Square: Alamo Square Park began as a mere watering hole on a horse trail, marked by a standout poplar tree. San Francisco Mayor James Van Ness created both the park and its name in 1857, according to the San Francisco Parks Alliance. “Alamo” means “poplar” in Spanish.

Ashbury Heights: According to the Library of Congress, nearby Ashbury Street is named for Munroe Ashbury, former member of the Board of Supervisors.

Balboa Park: The park itself is probably named after early 16th century Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa—not to be confused with the park of the same name in San Diego. (Which was definitely named after Vasco Nuñez de Balboa).

Bayview: Naturally, the name comes by way of the proximity to the bay, although the San Francisco Travel Association credits the long lost Bay View Racetrack with pioneering the moniker.

Bernal Heights: Wealthy rancher José Cornelio Bernal once owned a quarter of present-day San Francisco, conferred on him via a land grant from Mexico in 1839. According to a San Francisco Chronicle obituary, some portion of the land stayed in the family until 1926 and the death of Bernal’s grandson of the same name.

The Castro: Several-times governor of various parts of California, General Jose Castroseems to have had a somewhat luckless life, which included losing California to John Sloat and John Fremont with hardly any opposition and then later being assassinated by bandits.

Chinatown: The city experimented with a few variations on the theme in the 1850s before “Chinatown” eventually stuck. Once upon a time, Sacramento Street was known as China Street.

Civic Center: Present-day Civic Center resulted from an $8.8 million bond ($227 million in modern currency) approved by San Francisco voters in 1912, after the 1906 earthquake devastated the previous Civic Center.

Clarendon Heights: Named after nearby Clarendon Avenue, but from where that name derived seems a mystery.

Cole Valley: The SF Streets database credits 19th century San Francisco doctor Francisco Cole as the most likely namesake for the street and surrounding area.

Corona Heights: Corona Heights Park started off as a quarry dubbed Rock Hill. According to SF Parks Alliance, the city conferred the present name on it when buying land for park space in 1941.

Cow Hollow: Yes, once upon a time most of present day Cow Hollow was dairy farms—and, naturally, there were cows.

Crocker-Amazon: The Crocker part possibly comes from local railroad tycoon Charles Crocker, who once owned most of this land. Amazon Street may have gotten its name from the Amazon women of Greek myth, whom 16th century Spanish novelist Montalvorecalled in his novel about a far-off island nation ruled by warrior women and dubbed “California,” which is from where the name first came.

Diamond Heights: The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency picked the sparkling name when it created the neighborhood from scratch in the 1950s. If there was any particular reason for the diamond moniker—except for the chicness factor—it’s not evident.

Dogpatch: Similarly, Dogpatch is proverbial for the nonsensicality of its mysterious name. Other than general speculation that there must once have been a noteworthy number of dogs around, there’s little use in arguing about this one. Another speculation is that the name was derived from barflies who used to frequent an area watering hole.

Dolores Heights: One day in 1776, a chaplain accompanying Spanish explorer Juan Batista de Anza’s expedition wrote in his diary, “We arrived at a beautiful creek, which because it was Friday of Sorrows, we called the Arroyo de Los Dolores.” Although it’s no longer clear where Dolores Creek once was, the name has endured long after it vanished.

Duboce Triangle: Spanish-American war veteran Victor Duboce was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1899 but served less than a year before dying. Almost immediately after his death, neighbors began stumping to name a park after him, so great was his reputation at the time.

Embarcadero: No mystery here: the Spanish word “embarcar” means simply “to embark.”

Excelsior: The Excelsior Homestead dates to at least 1869 in surviving San Francisco records. Where that got its name in the first place is less clear, although the word itself is Latin and means (roughly) “ever upward.”

The Fillmore: Fillmore Street is named for Millard Fillmore, the former U.S. president who admitted California into the Union.

Forest Hill: The name says it all: When opened up for development in the early 1900s, it was mostly forestland.

Glen Park: Similarly, the “Glen” name is just a reference to the area’s valley geography.

The Haight: Banker Henry Haight came to San Francisco in 1850 and later served as governor. He is credited with founding the University of California.

Hayes Valley: San Francisco County Clerk Thomas Hayes owned and developed the land around this neighborhood in the 1860s.

Hunters Point: The three Hunter brothers bought this land from the aforementioned Bernal in the 19th century. Note that it’s never “Hunter’s Point”—just “Hunters Point” without the possessive.

Ingleside: According to the Western Neighborhoods Project, New York transplant Cornelius Stagg opened his Ingleside (“fireside”) Inn here in 1885. Which, alas, means we were this close to a neighborhood called “Staggstown,” but someone dropped the ball.

Jackson Square: As most people could guess, Jackson Street is named for Andrew Jackson, former U.S. president and headliner on the $20 bill.

Japantown: Originally “Nihonjin Machi,” San Francisco’s first Japanese enclave settled in what’s SoMa today. After the 1906 earthquake, survivors relocated near the present locale.

Jordan Park: Named after late 19th century landowner James Clark Jordan. Imagine if modern San Francisco tycoons got to name neighborhoods after themselves like that: Benioff Heights, Thiel Place, Mount Zuckerberg.

Laguna Honda: Yes, there was once a lagoon in this neighborhood, although it’s long since disappeared, along with the Gold Rush speculators who first built the Laguna Honda “almshouse” here.

Lake Merced: Another product of Spanish exploration and colonization, they dubbed the namesake lake “The Lake of Our Lady of Mercy” in either 1774 or 1775. (Accounts vary.)

Laurel Heights: In April of 1867, the Daily Alta California newspaper ran the following item: “Lone Mountain Cemetery has ceased to exist as articles of incorporation were filed yesterday by several prominent citizens by which a certain portion of Lone Mountain Cemetery has become legally into possession of the name of Laurel Hill Cemetery. The latter is a much prettier name, but it will be a long time before this generation will consent to the change.”

Little Hollywood: Disappointingly, SFGate says that the name stuck simply because folks in the early 20th century thought the homes here resembled those in Southern California.

Lone Mountain: It’s more of a hill than a mountain, of course, but apparently it stood out enough in the relatively flat surroundings to garner a nickname. Note that the aforementioned Lone Mountain Cemetery is probably the reason the name endured.

The Marina: There’s a marina here.

The Mission: There’s a California mission here.

Mission Bay: Modern Mission Bay doesn’t seem particularly close to the Mission, but much of the intervening neighborhoods didn’t exist at the time the name came up, and at one time the waters extended much further inland.

Mount Davidson: Adolph Sutro named the peak after George Davidson, who was a founding member of the Sierra Club. Despite the photographic evidence, he was not also a time traveling James Cromwell.

Nob Hill: People still argue about this one, but the most popular explanation is that “Nob” is a snarky elision of “nabob,” in reference to the wealthy tycoons who built their mansions here.

Noe Valley: Named for alcalde (mayor) of Yerba Buena Jose de Jesus Noe, who had so many great names it’s amazing they managed to pick just one.

North Beach: There hasn’t been a beach here in generations, of course. That’s infill for you.

NoPa: Neighbors usually resist when realtors try to create new neighborhood designations by sheer power of repetition, and many locals still cringe at the NoPa name. But Hoodline contends the name is actually a century old, so who knows.

Oceanview: A strange story, as this neighborhood was once called Lakeview, a reference to nearby Lake Geneva. But Lake Geneva no longer exists, so they changed the name to Oceanview, even though only a small part of the neighborhood affords a view of the ocean.

Pacific Heights: Note that Magellan conferred the name “Pacific” on the waters of the Western Hemisphere, meaning “peaceful.”

Polk Gulch: U.S. Pesident James K. Polk presided over the Mexican-American War, which, with the benefit of hindsight, probably wasn’t such a great thing. But it did mark the transfer of California to the United States.

Portola: Gaspar de Portola founded both San Diego and Monterey on his 18th century expedition north through California, which eventually terminated near the present day Golden Gate.

Potrero Hill: Turns out the “pasture hill” name is pretty literal, as former alcalde Don Francisco de Haro used the land granted to him to graze cattle. Lucky break that the neighborhood isn’t “Cow Hill.”

Presidio Heights: According to Gary Kamiya’s book Cool Gray City of Love, the original Spanish Presidio only survived a couple of years. Turns out adobe architecture was not the ticket for SF’s foggy climate.

The Richmond: Another one nobody can quite agree upon, the most often cited storyis that an Australian immigrant named the neighborhood after his native city, a suburb of Melbourne. Previously, all of the far western reaches were known as the Outside Lands.

Rincon Hill: “Rincon” means “corner” in Spanish. However, the geography that provoked the name to begin with no longer exists.

Russian Hill: Possibly the most oddball legacy of the lot, Gold Rush settlers discovered a cemetery atop this hill with Russian names inscribed, apparently the remains of unlucky sailors from the westward seas.

Sea Cliff: Although now one of the most wealthy SF neighborhoods, in the 19th century what would one day become Sea Cliff was mostly just a village for Chinese immigrant fisherman. “China Beach” could just as easily have become the name of the entire neighborhood rather than just the beach itself.

SoMa: For whatever it’s worth, SOMA magazine published a piece noting that editor-in-chief Ali Ghanbarian has long credited himself with making the “SoMa” portmanteau popular. Take from that what you will.

South Beach: The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency built South Beach Harbor in 1986, and as the premiums of the surrounding blocks rose they adopted the name to distinguish itself from nearby SoMa.

South Park: According to SF Recreation and Parks, San Francisco’s oldest park was “originally conceived as a London-style city garden.” Now, of course, it’s not even particularly far south, by the city’s present borders.

St. Francis Wood: Italian friar Saint Francis of Assissi, for whom the tony neighborhood is named, is also the namesake for San Francisco.

Sunnyside: German immigrant cum developer Behrend Joost, the “Father of Southwest San Francisco,” seemed to be fond of the Sunnyside moniker, naming two of his companies “Sunny Side” before granting the name to the neighborhood.

The Sunset: Once, this westernmost neighborhood was actually called “Carville,“ as early SF bohemians built homes out of decommissioned streetcars and other vehicles. The Sunset moniker was the brainchild of later developers casting around for a marketable name.

Telegraph Hill: Originally it was just “Loma Alta”—literally “high hill.” But apparently that was too obvious, so the telegraph moniker came by way of the old semaphore that long sat at the peak.

The Tenderloin: Named for the neighborhood in New York City, there’s a longstanding dispute over precisely what it means. Popular myth has it that beat cops made extra money for steak dinners working here, though whether they were eating off of hazard pay or bribes isn’t clear. The Tenderloin Museum, on the other hand, suggests that the name refers to the city’s “underbelly.”

Treasure Island: The island could hardly have less to do with the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, but even so here it is.

Twin Peaks: According SF Recreation and Parks, the Spanish originally dubbed Twin Peaks “Los Pechos de la Choca,” which translates into “the Breasts of the Maiden.” Just “Twin Peaks” is a little nondescript by comparison, but who can blame them?

Union Square: During the Civil War, rabble rousing minister Thomas Starr Kingwould harangue the masses here, calling for an end to slavery and victory for the Union. Maybe the fact that both of those occasions came to pass is the reason the name hung around.

Visitacion Valley: Another neighborhood named for the land grant rancho that once stood here, in this case Rancho Cañada de Guadalupe, La Visitacion y Rodeo Viejo.

West Portal: Named for the terminus of the Twin Peaks Tunnel. Which poses a Schrodinger’s Cat-style paradox: While the tunnel is closed, is the neighborhood still there?

Western Addition: The city created the Western Addition in the mid-19th century as a response to squatters creating ad hoc settlements outside the city’s westernmost borders.

Yerba Buena: Yerba Buena is the last holdout of the city of San Francisco’s original name. It translates to “good herb,” which, of course, provokes dank snickering today, but the reference is actually to the wild mint that used to grow on the hillsides.

Dig deeper and learn about a few more neighborhoods not included on the list. Thank you, Wikipedia!

List of neighborhoods in San Francisco

 

The Big Book of Chic

The Big Book of Chic

While Joe and I were in New York, he requested a mandatory stop at a local book store to satisfy his book obsession. Since we were not sure where that bookstore might be, we made our way through the streets of NYC. As we wandered around Midtown, we decided to visit the shops at the Plaza Hotel. Winding our way through the crowded hotel filled with tourists, wedding guests and vacationers, we spotted Assouline. C'était parfait!

The second-floor, walk-up store was filled with an impressive collection of art, interior design, architecture, fashion, travel, and, frankly, all things BEAUTIFUL. Among the perfectly displayed books, The Big Book of Chic, was a title jumped out at us. We were both drawn to the big and vibrant photos and thought-provoking quotes.

As I was researching the book, I found an interview from another Stacey:)  I thought she captured the book perfectly. Stacey Bewkes writes a lifestyle blog about living well with style and substance. A philosophy the resonates well with the two of us. SEE INTERVIEW BELOW....

The Big Book of Chic: Published in 2012

From the age of five, Miles aspired to be a part of the “great big glittering world” with fantasies of Cecil Beaton’s royal portraits, the 30’s chic of Fred Astaire in Top Hat and the timeless style of the glamorous interwar period.

From his ridiculously stylish un-student-like dorm room at NYU to his first apartment nicknamed “Rue Quatorze,” on the then unfashionable 14th Street, he has risen through the ranks with an uncompromising sense of joie de vivre and reverie. He learned the ropes from the best, working for John Rosselli and then Bunny Williams. But don’t expect any decorating advice in this tome (at a weapon-sized 9-3/4 x 13″ 300 pages). This is visual escapist inspiration at its best – a potential pinfest of drool-worthy imagery.

While Miles downplays the intellectual component of the book, make no mistake, there is a cultured educated eye behind this panoply of pretty. You’ll be looking at the pairings more than once, recognizing some new aspect with each viewing. Design is all about the mix and training the eye to see the possibilities, and this book is an invaluable lesson in connecting the dots.

But I don’t mean to take the fun out of it because this book IS fun – a frothy vicarious look at Redd’s particular style of cozy glamour. From his bold exuberant use of color to his eclectic elegant spin on classic you’ll want to dog ear every page. Sprinkled throughout are literary inspirations. I’m impressed with the lines he remembers or has accumulated. So many favorites read over the years – I’m not sure I’d know where to start. I didn’t even recognize this quote from one of my favorite books – the pairing is so seemingly straight forward it makes you think twice.

You will certainly see why Redd chose this quote – it’s exactly how you’ll feel, enveloped in his world of wonder and whimsical beauty. And to add another layer to this pairing, the room is from Redd’s friend Danielle Rollins‘ house, with whom he has collaborated on not only the decoration but some memorable entertaining as well – a very Mummy and Rory duo!

I had the opportunity to ask Miles a few questions I thought you might enjoy.

Q – That now famous shot of you leaping in your bathroom seems to say so much about your style. What is the story behind the photo?

MR – The story goes as thus, House and Garden wanted a portrait, and that is something that does not happen very often, so I decided to go for it. The inspiration comes from many places – Fred Astaire and Hollywood should take all the credit. It was my Top Hat fantasy brought to life.

Q – We know you love to entertain and have done so even in that iconic bathroom! With the holiday season approaching, can you share three tips for creating a successful party for those of us who don’t have a vintage David Adler mirrored bath?

MR –  Entertaining is fun, but only if you do not make yourself exhausted getting it together so, 

1.     Make it easy – don’t do everything yourself – hire help!

2.     If you don’t have a big budget – think pizza, Chinese or tacos – it is the way you do it, not the price tag

3.     Good music and soft lighting, which are free go a long way

 Q – Your book is unusual in that it has so little text and yet the thoughtful pairings say so much. Do you think there is an inspirational connection between design and literature?

MR – I do, every quote was something I read and remembered – and felt…style is in everything. How you dress, what you like to eat and certainly, what you like to read!

So….. come along for the ride. Miles’ particular brand of effervescent glamour is contagious.  Dare to dream! He’ll be the first to tell you that “This is a book about dreams coming true; the curiosities in the rooms I have decorated; and the people, artists, and places that have inspired me. … a very personal blend of work and fantasy.”

http://milesredd.com/

JUST LISTED I Idyllic Ross Opportunity

45 Poplar Avenue, Ross

First Time on the Market in 100 Years!
Offered at $1,395,000

A unique opportunity to build your dream home steps from downtown Ross. The property is coming to market for the first time in over 100 years.  Situated on a large flat lot, the current residence offers the chance to enlist a design/build team to create the ideal central Ross home.  Ross Park and the town’s biking/walking path and tennis courts can be directly accessed from a private gate at the rear of the property. Create a slice of Marin just for you! 

Appointment only.

  • Large flat lot: 9300 Square Feet along tree lined street
  • Private gate access to bike path and tennis courts
  • Steps to the award winning Ross K-8 School District 
  • Downtown Ross features a general store, coffee shop, restaurants, bike shop and more. Locals gather for a quick chat at the Post Office
  • Seasonal Farmers Market
  • Easy access to some of the best hiking/biking trails in Marin and Phoenix Lake

Lot size: 9,300 per Realist-Corelogic (not verified by agent or seller)
Please note: I have not verified any information contained within documents that were prepared by others. Buyer to independently verify.

 

Please fill out the form to receive more information.

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A Sweet Ride Around San Francisco in 1955

How fun is this film! This film took place well before I was born, but depicts the San Francisco I have always loved. Take this wonderful tour around San Francisco and visit many of the landmarks that are still here today. The landscape has definitely changed over time and you will see places in this movie that are no longer here, but the heart of San Francisco still remains! Enjoy!

Cinematography by - Tullio Pellegrini
Filmed with Bell and Howell's Filmorama Lens

Ellinwood Residence Landmark #207

2799 Pacific Avenue: Built 1894

The family coachman shown in this photograph is Carl S. Anderson, a Swede who was naturalized and in 1900 became a U.S. citizen. During World War II, the FBI stayed at the home to spy on the Russian Consulate located at Divisadero and Broadway.

The family coachman shown in this photograph is Carl S. Anderson, a Swede who was naturalized and in 1900 became a U.S. citizen. During World War II, the FBI stayed at the home to spy on the Russian Consulate located at Divisadero and Broadway.

Wanting to move from his home on Pine Street near Van Ness Avenue, Dr. C. N. Ellinwood commissioned architect Eugene Freeman Smith to design this home, first known as 2739 Pacific Avenue and later changed to 2799 Pacific Avenue, a number believed to be better suited for a corner home. It is among the earliest homes built on the crest of Pacific Heights after the extension of transit lines. This academically correct Colonial Revival was under construction from 1893 to 1894 and then the doctor and his wife, Elizabeth moved in and raised their four children.

The interior, with its formally arranged rooms, displays a very high quality of extant decoration. Aside from its 106 windows and 14 fireplaces, the building features a spectacular interior dome containing approximately 8,000 pieces of stained glass.

The house is ripe with multi-generational drama. In 1850, Divisadero was the dividing line between the City and the Presidio, and the Ellinswood House was one of the earliest homes located right at the boundary. Dr. Ellinswood was one of the officers in the U.S. Public Health Service and founder of the Marine Hospital of the Presidio. In 1902 he became the president of Cooper Medical College, which would eventually become Stanford Medical Hospital. By 1907, he was forcibly removed from the presidency following a financial management controversy over funneling funds earmarked for the now famous Lane Medical Library.

His descendants continued to own 2799 Pacific for over 100 years, including a bizarre 50-year stint from 1928-1978 when the house sat vacant and was rumored to have been used by the CIA to spy on the nearby Russian consulate. A later descendant, Alice Ellinwood, lived in the house alone and bankrupted herself in an attempt to restore it.

The home was completely reborn in 2000 by architect Lewis Butler and designer Paul Wiseman in a project that spanned 3 years and cost more than 10 million dollars. This renovation added a swimming pool, fitness center, caretaker's apartment and a spa with a 75' lap pool. By 2009, the mega mansion went into foreclosure, with a mortgage balance due of $11,363,000 and an unmet minimum bid of $10,000,000. Shockingly, no one showed up with cash in hand, so the bank had to forcibly kick out the defaulting owners in 2011.

Now..... this stately home has been lovingly cared for since 2012. If you drive by 2799 Pacific during Halloween or Christmas, you will be in for a wonderful treat. These famous homeowners know how to decorate for the holidays!

 

Japan’s Most Famous Festival of Lights

Kobe Luminarie, Kobe, Japan

Back in 1995, the city of Kobe was hit with one of the most devastating earthquakes in Japan's history. Among the major cities, Kobe was the closest to the epicenter so it experienced the most damage both in terms of infrastructure and in lives lost. To pay tribute to the thousands who perished and to give hope to the surviving citizens, Kobe Luminarie, a light festival was put on that year, in December. After the earthquake, Kobe was without lights and was plunged into darkness, so the first Luminarie was meant to light up the city and to give the people of Kobe hope that their city could, one day, be restored.

The lights were donated by the Italian government and the installation was produced by Italian designer Valerio Festi and Kobe native Hirokazu Imaoka. Though not meant to be an annual event, it proved to be so popular, the city had no choice but to bring it back every year since then.

Over three million people now flock to Kobe to witness the country's most spectacular festival of lights held for approximately two weeks every December. Most amazing is that each of the lights are individually hand painted. This year, the event was held for 12 days in December ending on December 17.

Below are some of the most breathtaking designs created throughout the years.


Since you missed the Luminarie show this year, here is a wonderful video that captures its spirit.

Lasting Love and Landmark #251

Glazer-Keating House  1110 Taylor Street

Glazer-Keating House
1110 Taylor Street

Built in 1906 shortly after the Great Earthquake and Fire, this Neo-Georgian dwelling served as the Coachman's House to the Flood Mansion, which still stands atop Nob Hill at 1000 California Street.

On October 16th 2002, the dwelling was finally designated by its owner, Dr. J Henry Glazer as: ZELDA d'ANGLETERRE GLAZER'S MEMORIAL LODGINGS, and such donated in his late wife's memory to the University of California , San Francisco for use and support of brain cancer research.

Dr. J Henry Glazer's love is clearly depicted in this tribute to his beautiful wife Zelda. The heartwarming history of their relationship and the reason he donated this classic home to help UCSF continue research to the horrible disease that took his wife's life.

A book simply called 1110 Taylor Street, San Francisco was also produced to explore the historic home and it's contents. It's a wonderful jaunt down memory lane and a fitting compliment for the historic neighborhood of Huntington Square.

 

 

THE SECRET LIVES OF COLOR

The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history.

In this book, Kassia St. Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colors and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilization. Across fashion and politics, art and war, the secret lives of color tell the vivid story of our culture.

Below are some favorites:

After running his wallet dry, Duthé became a dancer, courtesan, nude model, and general woman of interest — though this lifestyle came with a reputation of stupidity.
— Blonde

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
Kassia St. Clair is a freelance journalist and author based in London. She graduated from Bristol University with a first-class honors degree in history in 2007 and went on to do a master’s degree at Oxford.

“A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every color has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking.”
— —Simon Garfield, New York Times bestselling author of Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

For more information or to purchase one of these very cool books click here for more information. Happy Reading!

A Trip Down Market Street

NEW FOOTAGE AND SOUND! ENJOY!!

Many of us by now have seen this short film of a trip down San Francisco's Market Street in 1906. Four days after the film was made, San Francisco was rocked by an earthquake. The ensuing three-day firestorm destroyed three-quarters of the city, certainly, everything shown in this film. Mike Upchurch has recently done an excellent job of adding sounds to the film. Here is more information about the film with a link to the audio-enhanced version.

The origin of the film was an enigma for many decades, and it was long thought to have been shot in September of 1905, after being dated as such by the Library of Congress based on the state of construction of several buildings. However, in 2009 and 2010, film historian David Kiehn, co-founder of Niles Film Museum in Niles, California, dated the film to the spring of 1906 from automobile registrations and weather records. Kiehn eventually found promotional materials from the film's original release and dated the film to April 14th, 1906, and finally gave credit to the filmmakers, the Miles Brothers.

Restoration: This version was transferred from a new 35mm print made from a restored 35mm negative, taken from the 1906-era 35mm print owned by the Prelinger Archives. This version does not appear to have any digital restoration, except minimal contrast and brightness adjustments.

Post Effects: This version of the film has been digitally stabilized to remove jitter.

Resources: Sounddogs, Youtube, Horseless.com, Wikipedia, Archive.org, Streetcar.org, earlyamericalautomobiles.com, Prelinger Archives.

Accuracy: Automobile sounds are all either Ford Model T, or Model A, which came out later, but which have similarly designed engines, and sound quite close to the various cars shown in the film. The horns are slightly inaccurate as mostly bulb horns were used at the time, but were substituted by the far more recognizable electric "oogaa" horns, which came out a couple years later. The streetcar sounds are actual San Francisco streetcars. Doppler effect was used to align the sounds.

Produced by: The Miles Brothers Photographed by: Harry J Miles Sound Design by: Mike Upchurch

And to learn more about the historic film, here's a clip from 60 Minutes with Morley Safer.

Millennials' New Weapon in Bidding Wars: Parent's Home Equity

MN-AP683_SWITCH_12U_20170925111514.jpg

Call it the mortgage merry-go-round: Parents refinance their home to fund the full cost of their son or daughter’s desired home. This allows the child to compete as a desirable all-cash buyer in an area where bidding wars are common. Then, when the purchase closes, the child refinances the new home and pays the parents back.

Sellers often prefer cash because transactions can close quickly without making a deal contingent on financing. This is particularly important in bidding wars: If the purchase price is above the list price and appraised value, it may be tricky to get a loan, said Kas Divband, a Washington, D.C., agent with Redfin. Mr. Divband said he has worked on six deals where the buyer was relying on a parent’s mortgage to make an all-cash offer.

The strategy is also evidence of how difficult it is for millennials getting into the housing market for starter homes, where competition is the fiercest. Even those with high-paying jobs and hefty down payments are losing out, particularly in cities with strong job markets for young people, such as Washington, Boston and Seattle, said Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist.

Educating him on how to talk to his parents was probably the most difficult part Mr. Coffman said, since it wasn’t every day their son asked for $2 million. The athlete worked with a loan officer who vetted him before the purchase and also handled his parent’s line of credit.

Redfin agent Cody Coffman recently worked with a 20-something Olympic athlete who paid $2.8 million for his first home, a newly built five-bedroom house in Los Angeles’s Venice neighborhood that was listed for $2.758 million. His parents took out a home-equity line of credit, or Heloc, to give him the full purchase price, allowing him to beat out four other offers.

“Educating him on how to talk to his parents was probably the most difficult part,” Mr. Coffman said, since it wasn’t every day their son asked for $2 million. The athlete worked with a loan officer who vetted him before the purchase and also handled his parent’s line of credit.

This move will not work for everyone. Parents must have enough equity in their homes to make a refinance worth it, and the same goes for the child’s new home. Both parties must be willing to take on the added hassle and cost of two loans. And mixing family and money is often fraught.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

• Loan options. Parents have several options for using the equity in their homes, including a cash-out refinance, which allows borrowers to refinance an existing mortgage plus an additional amount and take the difference out in cash; a home-equity loan, which is a loan against the value of a home, including a second mortgage; or a Heloc, which works like a credit card, allowing homeowners to qualify ahead of time and withdraw funds when the child is ready to close.

• Finance fail. The biggest risk is that children won’t qualify for a loan—or as big a loan as expected—especially if they pay above the asking price or the market cools. To help avoid this outcome, let the lender know your plans ahead of time, Mr. Divband said. It may be more convenient to use one loan officer for both transactions.

Note that some lenders want buyers to live in a home for three to six months before refinancing. An alternative is a delayed-financing mortgage, which allows a buyer to purchase the home in cash and refinance the day after closing for up to 80% of the value of the home, said Peter Lucia, a production manager at Brecksville, Ohio-based CrossCountry Mortgage.

• Think like a lender. Parents should do the same kind of due diligence as a lender, including vetting children’s finances. Tim Manni, a mortgage expert with NerdWallet, a San Francisco-based personal-finance company, recommends working with a lawyer to draw up a family loan agreement setting out repayment terms and other stipulations. Buyers may also want to get a home inspection.

• Consider the costs. A purchase mortgage or a refinance would typically cost about 2% of the loan value, Mr. Lucia said. Most closing costs would apply to two loans instead of one. Luckily, prepayment penalties are rare on primary-residence loans, though they might apply on investment properties, Mr. Lucia said.

• Tax tips. Givers must report gifts of more than $14,000 per person per year under federal tax law, though an individual must pay taxes only after exceeding the $5.49 million gift-tax exemption, which is a lifetime limit. Interest on the first $1 million of a purchase mortgage is tax deductible, versus only the first $100,000 on a home-equity loan or line of credit. Both parties should consult a tax professional.

Corrections & Amplifications
Givers must report gifts of more than $14,000 per person per year under federal tax law, but an individual must pay taxes only after exceeding the $5.49 million gift-tax exemption, which is a lifetime limit. An earlier version of this article failed to make it clear that an individual owes this federal gift tax only if the lifetime limit is exceeded. (Oct. 13, 2017)

By Leigh Kamping-Carder

Appeared in the WSJ October 13, 2017, print edition as 'Tag-Team Mortgage Financing.'

JUST SOLD Madera Gardens Gem!

This charming four bedroom three bath home has been in the same family since the 1950s and has been lovingly cared for over the years! I am pleased to announce that my first time buyers Chris and Hilary just closed on this lovely home! In the competitive Marin marketplace, this home was a true find. With a close proximity to parks and award winning schools, they cannot wait to call this place home and raise their young family! First time buyers are the best!

Buyer Represented - $1,750,000

Need help finding your perfect home or are you ready to sell? Call me so we can get started. 415.450.8465

Transbay Transit Center: Everything you need to know about it (updated)

Towering terminus humanizes neighborhood skyline by giving San Franciscans a rooftop park and event space

While the South Beach and Yerba Buena neighborhoods have grown up (and up, and up) over recent years, the new Transbay Transit Center—would-be crown jewel of the neighborhood and linchpin of a transportation network that will, should all go according to plan, one day stretch all the way to Los Angeles by rail—has been spreading.

At a modest five stories tall, instead of soaring up it’s been growing out, 1,400 feet from one end to the other, like a concrete giant that decided to lie down for a nap between Beale and Second streets.

As such, it’s almost impossible to appreciate the scale of the soon-to-be-finished first phase of the building until you step inside, like we did for a hard-hat tour with senior construction manager Dennis Turchon.

It’s been Turchon’s job to oversee a crew of 700-plus on-site workers putting the pieces together since 2012. Now he’s in the homestretch—the first phase of the station must be finished this year.

“It’s a concrete thing now—literally,” he says of watching plans long in the making become real.

The original Transbay Terminal was a Depression-era artifact—and quite a depression piece it was by the end of its life, rundown and seeing only a fraction of its former volume of commuters. 

The new project wants to be all things to all people: not just a bus and train station, but also an architectural display far removed from the hunkered-down concrete design of the old building, a treatise on innovation as the planned terminus for the state’s high-speed rail project, a Union Square-grade retail hub south of Market, and a centerpiece for South Beach as a neighborhood.

Or as the city and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority prefer to think of it, Transbay as a neighborhood. “It’s an entirely new neighborhood,” says facility manager Martha Aragon Velez. “How often does a city get to do something like that?”

If the transit center is going to succeed—not just as a business venture and a way of unifying the pieces of the region’s transit needs, but also as a building that confers definition and identity onto the surrounding blocks—its best asset is the PWP-designed park on the roof.

Not necessarily because of the landscape itself (although it is shaping up to be quite lovely), but simply because, as a wide-open perch high above the streets, the park gives San Franciscans a place from which to confront and relate to the changing skyline.

On one end, the Salesforce Tower protrudes audaciously into the sky. On the other, a few blocks away, the Gothic grandeur of the PacBell Building keeps its peace. Between them, San Francisco’s past and present spreads out in a panorama of architecture and history.

Critics of the new, taller San Francisco sometimes find its scale disconcerting. “Manhattan was always tall, [...] very antithetical to the idea of San Francisco’s connection with nature,” Jasper Rubin, chair of Urban Studies at San Francisco State, said of the skyline in 2015.

Indeed, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the scale of new construction from street level. 

But from the roof of the transit center, with the skyline spread out like a buffet on all sides, the new scene appears a little more accessible. It’s helpful being able to look at the city eye-to-eye again.

Here’s a peek at the work still being done, along with everything you need to know about the incoming transportation collaboration over the next six months:

  • The substantial completion date for the first phase is December 22, 2017. “But that doesn’t mean buses will be running that day,” cautions Turchon. Coordinating the comings and goings of all of the transit agencies will take time in itself, and bus service won’t happen until early 2018.
  • Though originally budgeted at $1.9 billion, Turchon tells Curbed SF the final price tag will end up just under $2.26 billion. 
  • The entire building will run over 1 million square feet, one-tenth of that consisting of retail space.
  • The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which serves as developer on the project, formed back in 2001, nine years before demolition began on the old Transbay Terminal.
  • The original Transbay Terminal dated to 1939. The erection of the Bay Bridge combined with gas rationing during the war made the terminal extremely popular in the 1940s, serving 26 million people annually.
  • TJPA calculates that the new Transit Center will service more than 45 million passengers per year, or about 100,000 on an average weekday. All of those people are going to come in via a dozen transit agencies that will connect with the building.
  • Note, however, that 100,000 a day is a long-term goal, as some of the relevant agencies won’t connect to the station right away. In fact, some—those related to the state’s high-speed rail plans—don’t themselves even exist yet. 
  • Agencies include AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Greyhound, Muni, SamTrans, WestCAT Lynx, Amtrak, Paratransit, and (fingers crossed) High Speed Rail.
  • The 1.3-mile Caltrain extension, bringing peninsula trains downtown instead of to their present Fourth Street terminus, will cost more than the entire first phase of the transit center ($2.6 billion), and has only just begun preliminary study. 
  • A planned BART pedestrian tunnel “will connect the east end of the Transit Center’s Lower Concourse with the BART/Muni Embarcadero Station” via a block-long passage under Beale Street.
  • But those rail-related plans are part of a planned second phase of construction, which hasn’t been budgeted or fully planned yet.
  • Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the firm behind Salesforce Tower, is the architect of record.
  • To avoid making transit spaces feel claustrophobic, the design incorporates as much natural light as possible, including the dramatic centerpiece light column. “[Even] on a dark winter day the light reflecting off the awning will light up the bus deck,” Turchon says, noting that the qualities of the light change distinctly with each season.
  • The design of the lacy awning surrounding the building (crews were preparing to install the final elements during our visit) borrows from geometric formulas of British mathematician Roger Penrose.
  • And it also takes on the character of the surrounding neighborhood. “It looks like it’s changing colors, because it’s reflecting the buildings around it,” Turchon points out.
  • The rooftop park is 5.4 acres, and measures some 1,400 feet from one end to the other. 
  • On top of green space, the park will include restaurants, a cafe, a playground, and an amphitheater for rooftop concerts and live performances.
  • Also, roughly 470 trees will be added. Turchon’s favorite: monkey puzzle.
  • Piling mountains of soil on top of a building like this wouldn’t be seismically sound, so inflexible building foam makes up most of the park’s foundation.
  • However, as Turchon pointed out, the trees need a base of real soil around their roots too, to keep water and nutrients from escaping.
  • TJPA anticipates that the entire project will create 27,000 regular new jobs in the city.
  • Transbay jobs related to transit center operations will run up a bill of some $20 million per year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross. “We expect to have an operating deficit” at first, TJPA executive director Mark Zabaneh told the paper.
  • But Transbay facility manager Martha Aragon Velez says she remains optimistic about filling retail space quick enough to fund building operations. “There’s only a 1 percent vacancy rate on this side of Market,” she told Curbed SF. “That shows a lot of pent-up demand.” Retail analysts Kidder Mathews estimated 1.8 percent retail vacancy citywide at the end of 2016.
  • All told, workers in 41 U.S. states have contributed something to the building, mostly via manufacturing. (The only states left out: South Dakota, Vermont, Maine, Montana, Wyoming, Virginia, Mississippi, Hawaii, and Alaska.)
  • The two 134-foot, 670,000-pound cranes used during the major construction themselves took two days to build from more than 100 pieces each.
  • Digging took up over a third of the construction time, from December 2011 to February 2014. More than 640,000 cubic yards of material came out of the ground.
  • The excavation went so deep that it dug down to the “Old Bay Clay” level of strata, the 130,000-year-old blue-green soil deposits that predate the last Ice Age.
  • Archaeological digs underneath the site revealed a variety of Gold Rush artifacts,including a surprising number of creepy broken dolls.
  • Also unearthed: The 13,000-year-old tooth of a Colombian mammoth, now part of the California Academy of Sciences collection. 
  • Almost all of the concrete from the destroyed original terminal ended up recycled.
  • A four-story, human-like statue built from leftovers from the old station was planned, but had to be scrapped as it ended up over budget.
  • The center features a mini eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which can be seen from Howard Street between Second and First.
  • Mixed-use tower 181 Fremont, featuring a $42 million penthouse, will open sometime in 2018.
  • A movement is afoot to change the Transbay Transit Center’s neighborhood from Yerba Buena/South Beach to the East Cut.
  • In July 2017, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) made the renaming of the Transbay Transit Center official. Both the transit hub and park will be known as the Salesforce Transit Center. The 25-year sponsorship cost the tech firm an estimated $110 million.
  • After the rechristening of the center was made official, SFMTA director Ed Reskin slammed the decision as “distasteful,” but was careful to add, “Every dollar we get privately helps us fulfill our public mission.”

Courtesy of Curbed San Francisco - BY ADAM BRINKLOW

OFF MARKET LISTING - Turnkey Luxury Living

Move right into this amazing water view luxury condo. Only your suitcase is needed! A serene atmosphere greets you upon entering this sophisticated one bedroom + den residence In the city's highly sought LUMINA. Designed by world-renowned team of Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica and Heller Manus Architects, LUMINA’s striking curves and angles capture the elegance and vibrancy of San Francisco's magnetic waterfront.

Every detail has been taken into consideration and designed for efficiency. Top notch quality and beautiful design make this home the perfect retreat.

Top shelf features include:

  • Gaggenau appliances
  • Premium Caesarstone quartz countertop and backsplash
  • Custom SieMatic kitchen cabinetry
  • Wide plank hardwood floors
  • Built-in cabinetry (with full size Murphy bed) by California Closets
  • Custom built in TV wall cabinet with 72’ Samsung television and Bang & Olufsen sound system
  • Motorized window treatments
  • Custom lighting
  • Bosch washer and dryer
  • Double vanity with Volakas marble counter-top
  • European porcelain flooring and shower tiles
  • Indulgent MAAX soaking tub
  • Smart NEST Learning Thermostat
  • Designer paint colors
  • HOA $1,013.49 per month

Access to a wide array of amenities includes a 24-hour doorman, state-of-the-art fitness center with a climbing wall, two private exercise studios, spa facilities with a private treatment room, 75-foot lap pool, landscaped rooftop terrace with barbecue facilities and outdoor screen, bi-level club lounge, theater-style private screening room, private dining room. High touch valet technology allows residents to summon their car remotely. 24/7 valet parking service. One parking space.

A brilliant take on premier living in San Francisco. Located on San Francisco's Embarcadero promenade, the Ferry Building, Financial District, Union Square, and AT&T Park are nearby.  Owners enjoy convenient access to the Bay Bridge, Bay Area highway ramps, BART, and SF Muni.

Condominium can be purchased fully furnished.

Offered at $1,695,000

South Beach

Bordered by the Financial District, Mission Bay and SOMA the South Beach neighborhood in San Francisco has transformed into exceptional towers packed with contemporary apartments and luxurious penthouses. Trendy clubs and chic cafes now permeate the area. The vicinity boasts picturesque views of the bay and prides itself on being one of the cleanest sections of San Francisco. South Beach serves as home to the San Francisco Giants, giving fans plenty of reasons to cheer them on at AT&T Park.

The Neighborhood

Please fill out form or call me at 415.450.8465 for more information.

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INSPIRED DESIGN: NICOLE HOLLIS

Kona  Coast Retreat

Kona Coast Retreat

Nicole Hollis

Nicole Hollis

Sleek Sophistication

Operating from a brilliant light filled atelier in the San Francisco design district, Nicole Hollis imbues her designs with the sleek sophistication of a knowing and seasoned practitioner. Whether gathering inspiration from the vineyards of the Napa valley or the tropical breezes of the Hawaiian islands, Nicole seamlessly blends the alchemy of site and design. I had the recent chance to catch up with Nicole in her brimming studio to discuss her tireless pursuit of inspired collaboration with her designers and clients and the inspiration she draws from her good fortune to live with her family in the former Pacific Heights home of Julia Morgan.

 

 

 

 


 

When did you know that interior design would be your creative path?

Nicole Hollis: I was 12 years old and visited friends’ houses in Palm Beach. These beautiful interiors inspired me and I knew from that moment that I wanted to create unique spaces for people to live in.

You came out of Howard Backen’s office to establish your own interior design firm. What did you learn while working with Howard?

NH: Howard can simplify the complex for any client with great charm. The flow of his residential spaces are inspiring and he is always thinking about the context of his architecture.

In the Napa Valley, seasoned locals say you have elevated the time honored Backen look. What do you love about working in the wine country?

NH: We continue to be inspired by Howard’s architecture and interpret the interiors through another lens. Wine country mixes awe-inspiring terrain with pioneering attitudes. Napa Valley continues to integrate old with new in every aspect. This makes it one of the most interesting places to design.

Your husband, Lewis Heathcote, is your business partner. What surprised you about him when you two developed a professional relationship?

NH: He and I have been working together for fifteen years so our working relationship has been evolutionary. My biggest surprise is how well we continue to bounce new ideas off each other.

What type of culture have you developed in your office?

NH: We focus on a culture of “we” not “I”, so it’s collaborative and supportive working environment with clients, architects, contractors, artists, and craftspeople.

Kona  Island Residence

Kona Island Residence

Who is you perfect client?

NH: We’ve had a lot of really great clients that can give us a sense of what they think they’d like and then grant us the time and space to elevate that concept into something they couldn’t have imagined.

Do you have a creative routine or process?

NH: I do and I don’t. My process is to keep breaking up the process so I can see everything from different angles and continue to be surprised.

You recently collaborated with Brooks Walker on a Tiburon home. What was your experience like working together?

NH: The house is beautiful and stands as a testament to working with Brooks and his team. He truly understands how to listen to clients, collaborate with other parties and that the best idea always wins.

You and your family are fortunate to live in Julia Morgan’s old home on Divisadero Street. Does her spirit inspire you?

NH: Yes I think about her a lot. I cannot begin to imagine the hurdles she had to overcome in the early 20th century as a woman in design. I think of her coming home and ruminating over her projects and how I sit in the same spot, inspired by her.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

NH: The natural world is of great inspiration to me. I’m also constantly drawn to fashion design.

Who are your design idols?

NH: Jil Sander, Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela, and Ilse Crawford

Favorite weekend getaway?

NH: We were married in Big Sur and it continues to pull us in.

When were you the happiest?

NH: My two children honestly have excellent senses of humor so there isn’t a week that goes by that we’re not belly laughing with them. That’s hard to top.

The Buchanan Hotel  San Francisco

The Buchanan Hotel San Francisco

Visit NICOLEHOLLIS.com

Many thanks to Nichole Hollis, Katherine Nelson, and Avery Carmassi for working with Joseph Lucier and I on this feature!

FROM BROADWAY TO BELVEDERE

In 1962, architect Norman Gilroy rejected the notion that San Francisco’s historic buildings should be sacrificed in the name of progress. 1818 Broadway, a mansion that Willis Polk designed for Dr. Francis Moffitt in 1914, was slated to be razed for an apartment complex. It’s owners agreed to sell Gilroy the mansion if he moved it off the site.

1818 Broadway shown in its original location.

1818 Broadway shown in its original location.

After several months of negotiating for financing and for building transportation permits at both ends of the move, Moffitt Mansion was ready to journey to the property of some partners on Belvedere Island, which was 15 land and sea miles away across the bay. Using a chainsaw, workers literally sliced the 15-room mansion into two neat sections, each 30 feet high, 35 by 40 feet on plan, and weighing 85-100 tons.

"If you hear this particular whistle, don’t think: just run, the foreman warned. As the first house section moved onto the steep Franklin Street hill, its full weight suddenly canted onto its front dolly. With a scream like a train whistle, the impact tore a one inch steel box beam in two, knocking a two-foot hole in the street. Movers scattered like rabbits."

Chainsaw

This half of a house is ready to go! Ayen Movers claims this was the “largest and most complicated moving job ever attempted in San Francisco” It required 30-foot-vertical street clearances, navigating a 2.5 mile route through a congested area, and an elevation drop of 185 feet. Completed at night to avoid disrupting traffic, the move required lowering transit and power lines at several major street intersections to allow the sections to pass.

Here, workers jack the house up at 3:30am.

Here, workers jack the house up at 3:30am.

It required 30-foot-vertical street clearances, navigating a 2.5 mile route through a congested area, and an elevation drop of 185 feet.

“If you hear this particular whistle, don’t think: just run, the foreman warned. As the first house section moved onto the steep Franklin Street hill, its full weight suddenly canted onto its front dolly. With a scream like a train whistle, the impact tore a one inch steel box beam in two, knocking a two-foot hole in the street. Movers scattered like rabbits."

Time spent waiting for the right weather conditions was not wasted. This photograph shows the two sections being weather proofed for their sea journey. Meanwhile, temporary tracks and a ramp were being built to slide the building halves over the seawall onto the barge for transport.

A close-up shot of the track to the barge shows the amount of work and detail that went into building the ramp to slide the buildings from land to barge. A similar ramp for unloading was later built on the other side of the bay. With one of the halves of the Moffitt Mansion in the distance, it is easy to appreciate the immense size and scope of the project.

A close-up shot of the track to the barge shows the amount of work and detail that went into building the ramp to slide the buildings from land to barge. A similar ramp for unloading was later built on the other side of the bay. With one of the halves of the Moffitt Mansion in the distance, it is easy to appreciate the immense size and scope of the project.

In this shot, the house and barge with its tug captained by Master Mariner John Seaborne, is leaving the San Francisco shoreline for Belvedere Island. The trip will take one full day battling wind and tides in the Golden Gate all the way. The follow up positioning and siting work was left to Ayen house movers, and contractors were hired to restore and reconstruct the residence and landscape grounds.

In this shot, the house and barge with its tug captained by Master Mariner John Seaborne, is leaving the San Francisco shoreline for Belvedere Island. The trip will take one full day battling wind and tides in the Golden Gate all the way. The follow up positioning and siting work was left to Ayen house movers, and contractors were hired to restore and reconstruct the residence and landscape grounds.

West Shore Blvd

On West Shore Road, the sections were lowered into place on newly poured concrete foundations. The view shows the house after the halves were rejoined. Amazingly, the gap between the sections was exactly the width of the first chainsaw cut made on Broadway. The original Polk drawings, found walled up in the house, guided the restoration, and damaged pilasters and moldings were replaced with plaster casts and high-quality modern-day hand carving.

The Moffitt Mansion move is testimony to how an idealistic gamble by a single architect inspired others to preserve important buildings for posterity. Without Norman Gilroy’s vision and determination to convince city officials that historic houses could still be moved and preserved, the later rescue and restoration of many Painted Lady Victorians in the Western Addition might never have happened.

This interior shot captures just one room of the residence’s restored glory.

This interior shot captures just one room of the residence’s restored glory.

8 West Shore Blvd today!

8 West Shore Blvd today!

 

 

 

VIEW FROM THE TOP: ARCHITECT GLENN RESCALVO

Vision of a Modern Skyline

In a forest of cranes punctuating our rapidly evolving skyline, the hand of Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects shines through. Rescalvo's signature Millennium Tower ushered in a new era of elegant high rise design in 2009 and set a high watermark for the building boom that was soon to come in San Francisco.  As a native San Franciscan, Glenn's knowledge and love of the city's diverse neighborhood culture gives developers the necessary viewpoint to build informed architecture that responds to and enhances the lives of the city's residents.  With projects in over fifteen neighborhoods including The Pacific at 2121 Webster, the new Millennium Partners tower at 706 Mission, and the boutique 240 Pacific located in the historic Jackson Square district, Glenn is charged with a diverse stewardship as his native environment takes new shape.  
Our time together with Glenn at Handel's Market Street offices reveals a man who has a deep love for his hometown of San Francisco, a dreamer's vision for shaping the city's modern skyline, and a grown up kid influenced by his father's passion for exposing him to great architecture at a young age.

CaenLucier: When did you know that you wanted to be an architect?

GLENN RESCALVO

GLENN RESCALVO

Glenn Rescalvo: I knew quite early in life that I loved design, especially the lines and shapes of cars like Porsches and Corvettes as well as the designs of modern objects coming out of Italy and Germany. I actually thought of going into industrial design at one point, but because my father was an architect, I was very exposed to building design and construction and it soon became part of my day-to-day life.  Where we traveled was usually chosen by the availability of great architecture.  At the age of seven my father took me to Brasilia to see Oscar Niemeyer's incredible work. It is something I will never forget.

CL: As a native San Franciscan, how do you feel your “home town” status reflects your approach as an architect during this historic boom?

GR: Being a native San Franciscan has its pluses and minuses. First of all, I'm very passionate about this city.  I love the topography, the climate, and the culture of what true San Francisco stands for. Yet many times I'm frustrated that we don't take better care of it and help it grow to become an even greater city. Having the opportunity to live in New York, I was able to witness how government and private interest can work together to create positive change. I don't see enough of that process in San Francisco and I really hope that we can improve upon it.

As an architect here, I always strive to help improve the level of architecture, but, just as importantly, I am passionate about improving the pedestrian realm. Creating great architecture is rewarding only if the project responds appropriately to its contextual place. Collectively as city, we need to improve on our streets, sidewalks and green spaces. New York City has done an amazing job of bettering its streets and providing green spaces throughout the city. I hope that, as we continue to grow, our goals will include improving the public realm through a mix of government and private development.

 

"Creating great architecture is rewarding only if the project responds appropriately to its contextual place"

CL: Is San Francisco’s skyline getting more interesting with the Transbay Terminal Authority specifically overseeing the design approval process as opposed to the SF Planning Department being involved?

GR: Absolutely!  The skyline has improved tremendously, yet it is critical that these selected authorities continue to maintain the level of integrity and respectfulness to the design profession as they have done so far. To this point, I truly miss the existence of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency which, in my personal opinion, was a tremendous tour de force allowing for great place making for creative architecture to occur.  The Yerba Buena Gardens districtis an excellent case in point.  Ten years from now, I believe the Transbay Terminal district will be another "jewel" of the city.

706 Mission  Completion 2019

706 Mission Completion 2019

CL: What scale of residential design are you most enjoying working on at the moment?

GR: It’s difficult to say. I really love designing tall buildings and the gesture they can make to a city's skyline and urban form. More recently, we have been involved on much smaller scale projects. They have been very rewarding and exciting to work on, primarily because of the scale and interplay of spaces and the involved detailing.

CL: When you dream of creating the perfect residential project where would it be, how would it look, and what materials would you use?

GR: Blessed with amazing topography, San Francisco offers so many great opportunities for creating beautiful architecture.  If given the choice of where to design a residential project, I would choose a site in Sea Cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Tamalpias, and Golden Gate Bridge.  It doesn't get any better than that!  The design would be contemporary with clean lines, but not cold or ultra-static. I would use a combination of natural materials ranging from a variety of woods, polished and raw concrete and vernacular stones. The design and material would embrace the landscape and the two would become one. Room locations, window placement, and outdoor spaces would all be established based on the movement of the sun and prevailing winds. Large overhangs with floor-to-ceiling glass space would also be key features.

The Pacific Pacific Heights

CL: Tell us about working with Trumark Urban on their new project, The Pacific at 2121 Webster

GR: This was our first project with Trumark. In this particular case, I would have to say that the stars were aligned. Both Trumark Urban and Handel Architects saw this development as a unique opportunity knowing it had to be executed extraordinarily well on all levels. One of the key factors to the success of this development was the fact that there would never be an opportunity to build anything this tall in Pacific Heights ever again. Not only was this an existing 9-story structure, it was structurally sound with a parking garage and 12' floor to floors offering with extraordinary views of the Golden Gate Bridge,  Mt. Tamalpias, and the Pacific Ocean.  With all of these factors, the process of team work and collaboration was quite seamless. Not only did the architecture need to be unique and refined, but, given the demographic and the quality one would expect to find in Pacific Heights, it was just as important that the interiors evoke a certain level of sophistication and elegance.  Trumark has been great to work with as they visualized the end product and never hesitated. They simply wanted to make this project better than anything on the market, which certainly made our job very rewarding.

"When we began designing 240 Pacific, we knew that we needed to be extremely sensitive and cognizant of the history and urban fabric of the district."

CL: Jackson Square is such a beloved historic district in the city.  What decisions did you make to integrate 240 Pacific into its L shaped lot and maintain a dialogue with the surrounding buildings?

GR: When we began designing 240 Pacific, we knew that we needed to be extremely sensitive and cognizant of the history and urban fabric of the district. We wanted our design to embrace the location's history and elevate the quality of the neighborhood by creating a design that was contemporary yet sophisticated and contextual.  Historically known as the Barbary Coast, this area of San Francisco was one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. The site sits on the northeast corner of Pacific and Battery where the Old Ship Saloon, dating back to 1851, anchors the corner. The Saloon became one of the key components to a variety of design decisions made for the project.  The use of masonry brick for the exterior facade relates the project to its neighbors.  We felt it was extremely important to maintain a level of continuity not only with the Old Ship Saloon at foreground of our project, but with most of the existing neighboring structures in the district. As we developed the design, we strategically proportioned the window openings and materials to resemble that of the surrounding environment.

240 Pacific Historic Jackson Square District

CL: Where do you like to spend time away from work?                                                       

GR: I either like to be in the mountains skiing or on the ocean. When I travel to other cities - as great as it is - my mind is always working, absorbing images and ideas, and I'm not really relaxing.  When I'm either in the mountains or on the ocean, I have more time to reflect and be inspired.

CL: Favorite restaurants? 

GR: Cotogna and Spruce.

CL: What are you reading now?  

GR: The White Eskimo by Stephen Brown and The Four Quartet by Joseph Ellis

CL: What would you be doing professionally if you were not an architect? 

GR: Early on I really wanted to be a veterinarian.  I love animals and always had a way with them. Maybe next time around!

CL: Blondes or Brunettes…?

GR: Diversity is the best way to live life, but final answer...brunettes

Four Spirits and a Sunny Victorian

Atherton Mansion at 1990 California Street

1990 California Street  Pacific Heights

1990 California Street Pacific Heights

In 1860, Atherton moved to California. One of his numerous real estate purchases was his estate in San Mateo County, which he called Valparaiso Park. The land now forms much of present-day Atherton. Atherton married Dominga de Goñi, daughter of a prominent Chileno family. They had seven children, among them George H. Bowen, who later married Gertrude Franklin Horn, one of California's most important authors.

Atherton was a notorious womanizer and traveled often. This alienated his wife and family. His wife, Dominga de Goñi, was forced to take charge of the estate and found she much enjoyed the power she wielded. This was unfortunate for their son George, as he often bore the brunt of his mother's dominance.

After Atherton's death, Dominga de Goñi left Fair Oaks (later known as Atherton) and moved into the city. She built the Atherton Mansion at 1990 California on the corner of Octavia and California streets in the exclusive Pacific Heights district in 1881. Dominga de Goñi lived there with her son George and his strong willed wife Gertrude. George was somewhat of an embarrassment to the socially prominent Athertons, and the two strong-willed women with whom he lived constantly called his manhood into question.

In 1887, George found his living situation unbearable and he accepted an invitation to sail to Chile. Ostensibly he was going to visit friends, but in actuality he sought to prove his mettle and earn a place of honor in his family much like his father before him.

The trip proved to be his undoing. George Atherton developed kidney problems during the voyage and died. The ship's captain preserved George's remains by storing the body in a barrel of rum, which was shipped back to the Atherton household several weeks later. However, there was no indication that the cask contained anything more than rum and when it was opened by the Atherton's butler there was quite a stir caused by the sight of his former master.

The ship’s captain preserved George’s remains by storing the body in a barrel of rum, which was shipped back to the Atherton household several weeks later.

George's body was dried out and buried, but shortly thereafter, his spirit apparently decided to avenge itself on the women who'd tormented him in life. Dominga de Goñi and Gertrude reported being awakened at night by knocks at their bedroom doors and by a cold and disturbing presence. The phenomenon grew so troublesome that Dominga de Goñi sold the mansion and moved out. Subsequent tenants also have been unsettled by phantom knockings and roaming cold spots. None stayed very long.

That is until 1923, when the property was purchased by an eccentric Carrie Rousseau. She lived exclusively in the house's ball room surrounded by more than 50 cats until her death in 1974 at the age of 93. Since then the mansion has been remodeled into several apartments. However, the manifestations still occur. Residents report moving cold spots, wind blowing through closed rooms, voices in the night, and knocking sounds.

A séance conducted by Sylvia Brown identified several spirits active in the house. Three were female spirits, "who just don't like men," and a "frail" male spirit. She believes the home is still haunted by the ghosts of Dominga de Goñi, George, and Gertrude Atherton, and Carrie Rousseau.

1990 California Ball Room